— Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria started its existence as a regional university, just like its contemporaries, University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, ile Ife, established by the government of Western Region, and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, established by the Eastern Regional government.
Please remember that as at that period, the only University in the country, the University College, Ibadan, was then just a University College, whose admission policy and curriculum were closely tied to its parent university in the UK.
So, the three regional governments, in pursuant of their manpower needs, set up regional universities, even the federal government joined the train with the establishment of University of Lagos, Akoka, on the fringe of the then federal capital territory of Lagos.
Now, while Ife was established to accommodate the products of the free education programme, and Nsukka because the Eastern region needed a university.
The case of ABU was different. The North had a massive manpower deficit, both in the regional civil service and in the military. To meet those needs, the regional government had to lower entry qualifications for most northern youth to qualify. That was why people like Buhari got drafted into the army with what we popularly call Awaiting Result(AR), and people like Abacha got in despite not meeting the height requirements demanded from candidates from other regions.
For ABU, they had to create so many back bending programmes to meet up with their mandate. This of course led to the establishment of so many remedial programmes that it was referred to as the Remedial University.
Even after it was taken over by the Murtala/Obasanjo Administration which took over regional universities, the original purpose was never jettisoned. In fact, it got to a point where universities in the North were offering Certificates in Law! Which is used as an equivalent of an A/Level or OND, and are used to get into law programmes, cleverly sidestepping the very competitive JAMB entry requirements for Law!
One of the reasons for the stranglehold by the North on the judiciary and the civil service is the transfer of state officers to fill their state’s quota in the federal civil service.
Imagine if you will, two lawyers, one from either side of the confluence, who did NYSC together, and joined their state’s civil service the same day.
The southern lawyer would move to Level 9 in 3 years, but the one from the north was employed on level 9, promoted to Level 10 two years later, and level 12 after only five years, while his counterpart at that point is looking forward to his level 10 promotions exam.
If both officers now applied for transfer of service from state to the federal service, one is already three levels ahead even though they graduated the same day!
What makes it worse is that the Northern lawyer probably had only three credits, did a certificate course in Law, and then studied Islamic Jurisprudence, which is not applicable in about fifty percent of the states of the federation!
This man will now become a judge at 30, Appeal Court at 35 and Supreme Court at 40, sitting pretty to become CJN while his Southern mate was just being elevated to the High court.
There are even courses in UK colleges designed specifically for intellectually challenged northern politicians, their wives and their children!
So, those of you showing righteous indignation about Dino’s three credits must have been living on Mars. Because if you go down that path, the very foundation of Northern education, that has produced numerous presidents, permanent secretaries, Generals, Ambassadors, and majority of Directors of institutions, will be called to question.
Please stop judging some people with your own standards, I am certain if we scrutinize the qualification’s of most northerners in public office, the military, the police, customs, immigration, prisons, ports and sundry federal agencies, you will realise that Dino is just one in a million.
ABU is just fulfilling its mandate of producing low level human resources to fill the northern quota in a skewered federal system. It does not deserve your abuse, but your pity.
My Ten Kobo.